As you age, the cartilage in your bones becomes thinner, and the lubricating fluid inside your joints starts to decrease. As a result, your bones and joints will become weaker, and you’ll likely begin to experience pain or fragility.
While this is a natural process that eventually happens to most people, you can prolong its occurrence and reduce the discomfort you experience by adopting a few targeted lifestyle habits.
1. Add More Calcium and Vitamin D to Your Diet
Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies often contribute to the weakening of bones and joints. This vitamin and mineral duo work together; while calcium helps to build your bones and keep them healthy, vitamin D helps your body absorb it more efficiently.
Make sure you include milk, soy, yogurt, tofu, legumes, nuts, seeds, and greens in your diet for calcium. Foods rich in vitamin D include egg yolks, cheese, beef, fatty fish, breakfast cereal, orange juice, and certain dairy products.
2. Stretch and Exercise Regularly
To maintain life-long bone and joint health, you have to keep them active by regularly stretching or exercising.
Jogging, and dancing all strengthen bones and joints; however, you may want to focus on lower-impact exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga as you age. You can also put your bones and joints to work with weightlifting exercises designed for seniors.
3. Increase Collagen Intake
Collagen provides structure to your bones, tendons, cartilage, and numerous other tissues across the body. While the body produces collagen on its own, this process slows as you age. To increase your collagen intake, you can:
- Add more dairy products, egg whites, bone broth, fish, shellfish, garlic, wheat germ, cabbage, mushrooms, and asparagus.
- Eat vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, strawberries, and bell peppers in your regular diet. Vitamin C aids in the body’s natural production of collagen.
- Include lots of protein-rich foods such as legumes, poultry, meat, tofu, and dairy products to improve your glycine content. These are excellent sources of amino acids that stimulate collagen production.
- You can also buy collagen supplements in pill or powder form. For example, you can try Bulletproof collagen protein powder, which is tasteless and easily dissolves in hot or cold drinks.
4. Consume More Foods with Anti-inflammatory Properties
Individuals with arthritis or osteoporosis often experience joint inflammation. To reduce your symptoms, you can consume foods that naturally have anti-inflammatory properties. A few options include tomatoes, walnuts, almonds, oranges, strawberries, cherries, and blueberries, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, and olive oil.
5. Practice Fall Prevention
A single fall can damage your bones or joints and affect your mobility for months or even years. Especially if you have arthritis or osteoporosis, you have to take special care to reduce trip, slip, and fall risks.
A few things you can do to reduce fall hazards in your home include:
- Install handrails and grab bars in the bathrooms and alongside staircases.
- Clear clutter and remove tripping hazards.
- Wear better-fitting clothing with proper hemming.
- Make sure all areas in your home have adequate lighting.
- Use anti-slip mats in places like bathrooms where the floor can get wet.
- Take a pause before moving, especially when you come up to a standing position from sitting.
6. Buy Shoes with More Support
Owning the right shoes is essential to maintaining the health of your bones and joints. A high-quality pair of shoes can help redistribute your weight, provide joint pain relief, and prevent further injury.
7. Invest in Ergonomic Furniture
Repeating the same movements for long periods can cause a lot of strain on your muscles, tendons, and nerves. Typical repetitive motions include aggressive typing, prolonged bent wrists, and extending your elbows for long stretches of time. You may start feeling numbness, which can later turn into swelling and pain.
To reduce stress on your bones and joints, you can invest in ergonomic furniture and gadgets. Look for adjustable desks and chairs that provide proper support to your back and keep your neck and back in perfect alignment. You may also consider buying a wrist rest for when you use your computer.
It is Never Too Early To Start
Bone and joint health matters at all stages of life. Unfortunately, many people take this for granted and don’t notice the symptoms of weakness until it is too late. Maintaining healthy bones and joints is all about adopting a few good habits, and making some lifestyle changes. The earlier you start, the better of you’ll be down the line.